IMPHAL, December 1: As in other parts of the world, the World AIDS Day was also observed at various places of the state today.
The Manipur State AIDS Control Society also observed the day at the Manipur Film Development Corporation auditorium in the presence of the state Governor Gurbachan Jagat as chief guest and the state Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh as president.
Speaking at the function, the state Chief Minister said, “Manipur State is marching ahead in all aspects. The government with the whole hearted co-operation of the Congress led UPA government at the Centre has been implementing various infrastructural as well as human resource development projects in the State effectively”.
He said, “Everyone knows that the HIV and AIDS situation in Manipur is alarming. The whole development initiatives and progress of the state will be impaired unless we are able to protect our youths and children from HIV and AIDS in time”.
The state Chief Minister continued, “The observance of World AIDS day on first of December every year is to caution the people of the impending dangers of the HIV and AIDS epidemic and also to enhance services for prevention, care and treatment. This year`s theme `Getting- to Zero` emphasis to Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination, Zero AIDS related deaths”.
Dwelling further on the issue, he said, Manipur is the only state to have a separate AIDS policy which adopted as early as 1996 and added the draft revised State AIDS Policy is in the final stage to meet the new challenges in dealing with AIDS issues in the State.
The Manipur State AIDS Control Society has been implementing various intervention projects among the high risk groups of population.
“Considering the importance of prevention among the general population, various activities are being carried out to increase the awareness level and to bring positive behavior among the youths in co-ordination with Health department, NGOs and Civil Societies”, he said.
The state CM also said that it is encouraging and worthy to praise that many young HIV positive men and women of the state have come out public and joined the fight against the problem of HIV and AIDS.
There is ample room for involvement of the civil society in the revised policy document to fight this problem, he said.
The CM ended his speech by inviting suggestions and modifications from all stake holders to make the policy more effective and suitable to the state.
Meanwhile, the state Governor in his speech said, “Even though the absolute number of HIV positive cases in Manipur is increasing, prevalence rate reportedly shows a slight declining trend every year”.
“However, as per the Sentinel Survey the High Risk Groups is still the most vulnerable despite various intervention programmes.”
“The comparison of the route of transmission during 2004-2008 and 2008- 2012 show that the percentage of parent to child transmission and blood and blood products declined from 12.2 to 6.8 and from 1.6 to 1 respectively. This indicates that the awareness and other measures in these areas have started yielding results.”
The Governor also said, “However, the percentage through heterosexual route and infection through syringe sharing not only form the major percentage, it also shows an increase in the percentage”.
“Another disturbing finding is that maximum distribution of HIV positive is among the age group 25-49 years, the most productive period of human beings”.
“About 82 percent of all cases are within this age group”, he said.
“This further indicates that without intervention as this group is sexually active, they may and can increase the HIV infection through sexual mode of transmission. The reduction of infection in the age group of below 24 years shows that the intervention in this age group is yielding results”.
“Therefore, there is a need to strengthen those targeted interventions which are yielding results and revisit those which are not producing the desired result and revamp such targeted interventions to produce the desired result”.
The objective is to ensure zero new infection rates as the mortality and morbidity, besides the financial and societal “cost of management of this syndrome is enormous, he said.
“MACS despite their efforts need to do more as about 5000 HIV positive persons detected during 2003-04 and onwards do not attend ART Centres”.
The advantage of registering with the centres is that they are not only provided ART but also with further information to better manage their lives, the Governor said.
I am happy that Manipur quickly accepted the prevalence of the disease once the first case was detected in 1989 and started early on its control and management.